The administration of President Joe Biden has announced it is reconsidering national soot standards that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had determined in 2020 adequately protected public health.
Imposing stricter soot-standards would allow the administration to indirectly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and industrial facilities, without having to get legislative approval.
Changes Reject Scientific Findings
The EPA is considering lowering annual average exposure standard for Particulate Matter (PM) from 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air to as low as 8 micrograms, and the 24-hour standard from 35 micrograms down to 30 micrograms.
A careful review of the existing scientific data concerning the links between existing PM standards and public health, carried out as required by law under the Trump administration, found current standard adequately protected public health.
Citing no new data, the EPA’s draft policy assessment now finds long- and short-term exposure to soot or PM, at current levels, is associated with adverse health effects. As a result, EPA has concluded the current standards must be tightened in order to protect the public.
The change in the EPA’s scientific assessment is likely to result in many areas falling out of attainment of the 1970 Clean Air Act.
Earlier Data Driven Decision
On April 14, 2020, the EPA announced, that after carefully reviewing the best available evidence, the agency would retain, without changes, the existent standards for soot.
“Based on review of the scientific literature and recommendation from our independent science advisors, we are proposing to retain existing [PM] standards which will ensure the continued protection of both public health and the environment.” said Andrew Wheeler, EPA administrator in a statement at the time of the decision.
EPA’s decision to maintain PM standards at existing levels in 2020 was based on science, said Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) press release issued at the time.
“EPA’s decision is scientifically justified and will promote economic recovery and growth,” said Flores. “The EPA’s decision to retain current [PM] standards, without changes, rightly reflects the long-term trend data of dramatically decreased particulate matter as well as the needs of our state and local governments.”
EPA Undermining Science
The obtain its climate policy goals the Biden administration upending its science advisory board and science standards, says John Dale Dunn, a physician, lawyer, and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute, which co-publishes Environment & Climate News.
“The EPA’s goal is to change a number of air pollution standards and to reconstitute the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC),” Dunn said. “There’s a lawsuit in motion filed by a number of members of the former CASAC, who like me, are upset the EPA is throwing away good scientific analyses for bulls— political reasons”
Kenneth Artz (KApublishing@gmx.com) writes from Dallas, Texas.